Queerly Beloved: Gem Sheps

I swore this day would never come, but I cannot even trust myself anymore. I must confess.

I watched an anime.

I’ve always been adamantly against watching anime because my ADD makes it extremely difficult for me to pay attention to anything that isn’t in English—and to many things that are in English—but this one was a prospect I couldn’t resist.

Gay figure skaters.

A new anime, Yuri!!! On Ice, recently premiered and despite all the will in me, I had to watch when a friend told me that the main character is gay.

With the entertainment industry so lacking in representation, I cling to every scrap of queer media I can get. I binge-watched The Fosters when I found out the family had two moms. My favorite characters on Grey’s Anatomy are Callie Torres and Arizona Robbins, despite all their tribulations. I’m still desperately clinging to the hope that, with the upcoming premiere of the BBC’s Sherlock season four, it will be confirmed that Sherlock is a gay man. And now, Yuri Katsuki and Viktor Nikiforov of Yuri!!! On Ice are blessing my life with their beautiful, confirmed, on-screen relationship.

My favorite thing about the show isn’t even the fact that they’re gay. It’s that the show isn’t about them being gay. It’s about competitive figure skating—Yuri wants to win the Grand Prix figure skating finals and Viktor decides to coach him. They just so happen to start a relationship.

There is no fuss about coming out. There is no family rejection. It’s not a gay show, it’s a show with main characters who are gay. Though it sounds simple, it’s a rarity.

Some of my least favorite shows are those that use queer identities as the entire show concept. Queer As Folk and The L Word are two shows that I’ve blacklisted because I already know what it’s like to live every day life as a queer person.

I have to live as a queer person in an unaccepting world. Why would I want to watch that in my free time when I would rather see romantic comedies that include people like me without making a big deal out of it?

It’s shows like Yuri!!! On Ice that should be the example set for people creating queer media. We don’t want to keep watching The Gay Tragedy StoryTM over and over again; there is absolutely nothing pleasant about being reminded when you’re trying to enjoy yourself that people like you are exiled, persecuted, and killed every day.

We just want to watch figure skaters kiss.

Gem Sheps
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